Bikes in Sapporo under snow, photo: Daniel Cuthbert.
When your island gets 20-30 feet of snow in a year, I suppose coming up with interesting ways to put that snow to use. That’s just what Japan’s transport ministry plans on doing at the new New Chitose Airport terminal in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Japan Today is reporting that the ministry plans on introducing a system by 2010 which will use collected snow to provide 30% of the facility’s cooling energy. Here’s how it will work:Snow Stored Until September
An unspecified amount of snow will be collected in winter and stored through the summer under heat-insulating materials (again, unspecified exactly what those materials will be). Tests done last winter show that up to 45% of the collected snow could be stored until September. The snow will be used in the warmer months to chill the liquid in the airport’s cooling system, thereby avoiding energy use which would otherwise emit an estimated 2,100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
One question: Though the amount of snow required to perform this cooling hasn’t been stated, I wonder if they’ve included the emissions from transporting all that snow to the airport (or maybe it's just collected from the runways...) in those emission reductions. Nonetheless it’s an interesting use of snow, which probably could be applied in other wintry areas.
New Chitose Airport is the third largest airport in Japan, after Narita and Haneda.
via: Japan Today and Environmental Leader
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